Monday, May 14, 2007

Ipods and Pacemaker Malfunction?

The results of an Ipod's effects on cardiac pacemakers was presented recently at the Heart Rhythm Society, in Denver, Colorado. (Reported by the Denver Post). The senior author of the study was Dr. Jongnarangsin.

A study at
the Thoracic and Cardiovascular Institute at Michigan State University found that an Ipod can cause pacemakers to malfunction by causing electro-magnetic interference.

What's interesting about this study is that it was prompted by a Jay Thaker, a high school student from Okemos, Michigan. Since Jay's mom is a rheumatologist, and his dad is an
electrophysiologist, his interest in physiology is not not surprising. Jay had been pondering the idea of whether an Ipod could cause interference with pacemakers. When he and his dad searched online, they found no information. (Too bad Google Answers is among the dearly departed!)

When asked by one of his patients if there would be a problem using an Ipod with his pacemaker, Jay's father suggested he contact Dr. Krit Jongnarangsin, an assistant professor in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Jongnarangsin said that most patients with pacemakers are not Ipod users, but they could have children or grandchildren who do.

The study consisted of a cohort of 83 volunteers with pacemakersand found that Ipods interfered with pacemakers about 30 per cent of the time. In one case, a pacemaker stopped working completely!

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